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RodinStar / Startup

Knowlarity Outage: How Mr. Homecare did the right thing.

From the day we started our house cleaning business as Mr. Homecare in February 2015, we have been grateful to receive a high volume of inbound phone calls from customers across Mumbai, Bangalore, Gurgaon and Delhi. It made sense to shift to a cloud based telephony system, since it allowed us to track phone calls, ensure none are missed and reached out to. Knowlarity was an obvious preference, since Hammer and Mop knew them as well, and we entered into a fruitful association. We worked with them for 15 months without a hiccup.

And then, the phone lines went down.

All hell broke loose last weekend when the phone lines of Knowlarity’s biggest clients – those above a certain billing – went down. It meant money down the drain for companies who were banking on incoming phone calls, either through an advertising campaign or purely because it’s the weekend. We lost a bunch of business, because our patrons kept trying our hotline number (9022070070) and it did not connect.

Some were amazingly sweet, and scouted around for other means of communication. While a few wrote in through the blog ‘contact us’ form, some called me up through the ‘Press’ number. Some called up the team members directly, since they had our numbers. But it was a major inconvenience to all, and we were left at our wit’s end.

Dilemma on the next steps

We spoke to the key team members at Knowlarity, and sought clarity on what has gone wrong. Since the chaos was unprecedented, their internal communication channels were haywire and not everyone knew how to communicate what. There was zero clarity on when the systems might start working again and since we were losing business every hour, our patience was wearing thin.

We were faced with two options – either to switch to Exotel (a competitor) immediately or to wait it out. The latter was not a decision one would take with a business sense in mind, it had to be an emotional call. We did call up the competition and procured rates, even compared plans and discussed the viability of switching. Knowlarity has an impressive customer base, and their competitors had been flooded with calls as well, so our conversations were pretty predictable. It was not a good feeling, contemplating abandoning a ship we had liked so much.

“Nope, we will not break faith today!”

We are deeply emotional people, at SILA and Mr. Homecare. This gives us the strength to serve you so well, and to understand each home and its requirements. It also helped us take a decision from our hearts, and we decided to wait it out. We have had an amazing work relationship with our partner for more than a year. In this hour of need, if their customers do not stand by them, who will?

We experienced relief from their end when they heard us say this, and their gratitude was genuine. With utmost transparency, the entire team has been receptive and worked towards making our lines go up immediately. We’re sure it was not child’s play, since Knowlarity is stuck in a regulatory issue (as explained by its CEO). However, they did go out of the way to ensure our convenience, and we’re glad they did. Though some issues persisted, they were cooperative and cleaned out the glitches. Thus, they won a customer for life.

And who inspired us to take this decision?

YOU DID! House cleaning, office cleaning, pest control, AC servicing and car cleaning is not an easy business to be in, because it’s people intensive and every space is different. We have had our share of goof ups – at Hammer and Mop and Mr. Homecare – and we could be where we stand only because our patrons supported us.

Your frank feedback, patience and constructive criticism has been invaluable. We are humbled to know that you believe in us, and have always given us an opportunity to pull up our socks and be better. Thank you for your love and support.

@sushrutmunje

[first published on the Mr. Homecare blog]

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You can read all of Sushrut’s discussions on TRH here!

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5 Comments

  1. sushrut,

    this is so well written. as someone who considers customer service a religion, i can only imagine what you guys must’ve been going through.

    one question i’ve been meaning to ask – at any point of time did knowlarity’s founder reach out to all of you customers to update you on what’s going on? ‘coz in such cases, timely & transparent internal & external communication is so critical! i reckon this is a huge lesson in disaster management. (remember alok’s post?)

    http://therodinhoods.com/forum/topics/disaster-management-for-entrepreneurs

    good to see how loyal customers can fix broken goodwill. am sure your article will help knowlarity in a big big way!

  2. Thank you, Asha! They did receive this blog post with warmth. I remember the roller coaster we went through – could see business slipping through our fingers and no clarity in the first few hours of the outage. Even explanations for the outage differed from team to team at the start which added to the confusion. But on proper escalation, we realized how their hands are tied as well.

    CEO reached out in the late afternoon, through the blog post we all know. All their managers who interact with the customers were very responsive and acted like CEOs as well 🙂 That’s why they won us over.

  3. Great decision Sushrut. Just had 2 questions regarding this:-

    1. What quickfix solutions did you adopt while Knowlarity was down to service your customers?
    2. What are possible alternate solutions that could be put in place which can be put to use in such cases when one’s cloud telephony service is down?

  4. nice post thank you so much for sharing such a nice post with us.
    http://www.repairadda.com/more-services/cleaning-2/

  5. Nice information provided. Thanks for sharing. http://hicare.in/home-cleaning-services

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